Shawcross set for back surgery

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Ryan Shawcross is set to miss the start of the Premier League season as the Stoke defender needs surgery on a niggling back problem.

The injury hampered the 27-year-old's involvement last season, but the club had been hopeful that surgery would not be required.

However, Shawcross has been unable to shake off the niggle during the off-season and it's been confirmed he requires back surgery.

The Potters skipper will go under the knife to fix the problem next week and is expected to miss around two months of action.

Stoke kick off their Premier League campaign against Liverpool at home on Sunday, hoping for a repeat of the final fixture of last season when they beat the Reds 6-1.